Orthopaedic Surgeon's top tips for an injury-free ski holiday

Consultant Shoulder Surgeon Richard Sinnerton writes from a Val D'Isere ski chalet with some tips to follow if you'd like to avoid skiing injuries on your next winter holiday.

  1. Don't use the wrist straps on your poles unless you're in deep powder, You will usually find your pole again but you won't be able to hold it without a fully-functioning UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament)!
  2. Wear a helmet but don't think it will improve your overall skiing ability - it won't.
  3. Tell the truth about your weight and ability when you rent your skis. Lying to the ski-rental guys may not be as dangerous as telling a few porkies before bungee-jumping; release tensions in bindings must be correct if you're to avoid the risk of serious injury.
  4. Opt for the carving skis. These are shorter which will reduce the risk of crossed tails and an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tearing fall.
  5. When you do fall don't try and get up when your skis are still moving or you might hear a holiday-ending 'pop'!
  6. Listen to all the usual pre-ski advice. Get 'ski-fit' before you go and make sure you balance the strength in your quads and hamstrings. Do a lot of stretching because big muscles cause short tendons - think of all those bodybuilders who can't get their arms or legs straight! - which increases the chance of a tear. Warm up, not just with Gluwein, and don't ski tired.

Accidents will happen so you can always contact Richard Sinnerton should you or one of your party return injured from the ski-slopes.

Tissue made up of cells that can contract to bring about movement. Full medical glossary